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Material and Symbol: the Lincoln/Keckley Dress

Welcome to the Teaching Materials and Resources for the Lincoln/Keckley Dress Object Lesson. In this portion of the site, you will find a lesson plan and annotated links to other online resources.

In thinking about teaching with the Dress Object Lesson, it is useful to note some organizational characteristics of the main portion of the Web site. First, the Object Lesson is divided into four areas:

  • Introduction: a brief contextual movie that deals with the dress, Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln's relationship in the Civil War era, and a QuickTime Virtual Reality representation of the dress.
  • Explore: a collection of primary sources and curator interviews designed to focus on the desk as an object, in historical context, and within the museum. This portion of the site allows students to browse content and explore their own interests.
  • Tours: primary sources and curator interviews from the Explore section organized into two thematic tours. The Brief tour provides a introduction to Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley. The Extended tour deals with Lincoln, Keckley, and the place of free African Americans in the District of Columbia during the Civil War era.
  • Resources: annotated links to other online resources that are related to slavery, abolition, gender and consumption in the mid-nineteenth century.

All of these materials are available to prepare students to partake of the interactive portions of the site. A close examination of the primary sources and curators interviews should enable students to submit thoughtful questions for the Forums with curators and historians. Similarly, students should be able to organize their knowledge of the material into a virtual exhibit that they can describe and annotate in the Activity section.